The (Easter) egg came first / Vienna’s Easter Markets

I haven’t seen as many eggs within the span of two days as I did at the Easter markets in Vienna last weekend. Mr.A and I were in the beautiful Austrian capital, walking around town, hopping on and off the trams, and strolling in and out of its many cozy markets showcasing local crafts and delicacies, among plump fluffy rabbits, cocky roosters and an immense collection of gorgeously decorated eggs. By the end of it we’d seen eggs made of wood, wax and glass, eggs small enough to hold in ones palm to those towering high above my height, eggs dipped in mild vegetable dyes to those bedecked in gilded pearls, dainty crochet jackets or mini oil paintings, and honestly, every other kind of Easter egg in between!

Look, I baked my own bread!

I have tried to bake bread at home several times before, but sometimes the yeast wouldn’t rise, sometimes it would turn out to be a brick and sometimes it would taste like straw. In effect, epic fail, every single time. Until, that wonderful day when I chanced upon Alexandra’s Kitchen, and landed on her mother’s recipe for the perfect peasant bread. And if she claims that this is the best & easiest recipe, then just believe her, ’cause it just is! How she gets the ideal water temperature for the yeast to activate is the coolest tip ever, I tell you it always works. She uses 3 parts cold water to 1 part boiling water (right off the water kettle, for instance), and then equal parts of sugar & dry yeast. No more dormant yeast in my kitchen, hah! Plus it’s no-knead bread, so much better than one that requires muscle power, right? I’ve tried a few variations of the original, it’s turned out super delicious each time. As my colleague said, I’m now ready to be a grand-mom 😀 Here’s me showing off my newly acquired grand-mom skills 😎

My first attempt was to follow the recipe word by word. I really surprised myself with the result. I guess I didn’t have any expectations at all, heh heh.

Next time, I tried to mix the all purpose flour with wholewheat flour in the ratio 3:1, and added some dill. I also baked it in small cupcake moulds, and ramekins just to see how that went. The dill smelt & tasted so good, and these were great for breakfast.

The third time I tried to up the health quotient a bit more by changing the flour ratio to 5:3, the bread was slightly denser, but still quite fluffy. I think I’ll keep this as my standard, any more of the wholewheat will probably not be as yummy. I also put in some chopped up olives and sun dried tomatoes, which made by bread oh-so-fancy!

Do you have a perfect go-to recipe that you swear by? I’d love to know!

It snowed again. & a lot!

Didn’t they say it was time for spring? I guess they changes their minds, ’cause it snowed again in Stockholm this week. & a lot! Although it’s been quite cold these days, this white wonderland is a much more welcome view than the dreary grey days between winter and spring. No complaints here 🤗

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Travel checklist : 2016

2016 was a year of adventures, big and small. Early last year, Mr.A and I prepared a 2016 Travel Wishlist. And we went though quite a bit of it, of course, missing some here & there, but adding a few more in the end. By the end of it, I had ticked off 9 totally new countries! Whoa, I’m so lucky!! So, continuing on the tradition set down by my Travel checklist: 2015, here’s the lineup from 2016…

#1 Germany : Around my birthday in February, we visited Berlin, a city rife with such poignant history, yet so contemporary at the same time. It was an eye-opener, trying to imagine what the city might have gone through during those war-torn years.

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#2 Czech Republic : In spring, it was time for beautiful Prague, together with our friends N&G. The city of a hundred spires was as intriguing as we had expected. Like Berlin, here too, we experienced some heartrending snippets of history.

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#3 Croatia : May brought in a terrific week of road-trips, when we travelled through the length of Croatia, from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. We visited several cities and witnessed amazing geography, enjoyed traditional food and met some really nice people along the way.

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#4 Estonia : Around midsummer, we took an overnight cruise to Tallinn, to see its charming old town and relax at a spa hotel. Mr.A’s little sis joined us on this fun trip.

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#5 Latvia : A mere 4-hour bus ride from Tallinn brought us to Riga, another really winsome town with its many spires, squares, parks and cafes.

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#6 Iceland : In fall came our epic road-trip around Iceland with our friends S&S, one of our most awe-inspiring trips ever. To say that the landscape is stunning, is a gross understatement. Every step of the way was a revelation in beauty and wonder.

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#7 Switzerland :  In September, Mr.A and I took my parents on a trip to Switzerland, the enchanting land of endless green fields, glorious mountains and postcard villages.

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#8 United Kingdom : And then there was a bonus office trip to London. Though it was short & snappy, I got a chance to see a couple of prime spots and became even more excited about returning to this groovy city.

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#9 Hungary :  In November, keeping up with an unsaid tradition of ours, we celebrated Mr.A’s birthday in Budapest. We were charmed by this city of bridges, and felt knowledgable while comparing it to its almost-twin, Prague.

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#10 India : And finally in December we spent time in India to connect with our beloved friends and family. I know this is cheating, ’cause I am from India, so this is not a new visit, but I just couldn’t resist the fun of getting down to a square ten-pointer 😉

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How was your year in travel? Keep going!!